The article below originally appeared in the Half Moon Bay Review and is being reprinted with permission.
Jennifer Freeman was never a flashy softball player.
She just played the game to the best of her ability.
She also worked hard to make herself the best that she could be.
She was part of a team that was ranked near the top in state polls when she played for two years in the mid-1980s at the College of San Mateo.
It’s been more than 25 years since she played third base for the Bulldogs. She’s now married with two children, living on the Coastside and working at Pescadero High School.
But she’s not been forgotten.
Freeman is part of a class of 16 who will be inducted Friday into the inaugural College of San Mateo sports Hall of Fame, including five posthumously.
Among those going into the Hall of Fame is her softball coach, Tom Martinez.
“That makes it very special,” Freeman said.
About as special as something else that happened several years ago at softball hitting camp in Half Moon Bay, with Martinez serving as the instructor0.
Freeman came by to pick up her daughter from camp. As he was reviewing the day with the campers, Martinez saw Freeman and proclaimed to all the campers that Freeman was the greatest player he ever coached. That’s saying a lot since he coached at CSM for more than 20 years. Just about every team he coached qualified for the playoffs.
“It’s nice to know that someone who’s opinion I valued didn’t overlook me,” Freeman said. “I never looked to be the center of attention. I just worked hard and gave it my all.”
Her team was the center of attention as it rolled through conference play, going deep into the postseason.
“When you have the right combination of players and the right coach, it happens,” Freeman said.
Freeman’s name will be immortalized alongside Martinez and two NFL Hall of Fame coaching greats, Bill Walsh and John Madden.
“I’m 46,” Freeman said. “Playing there was so long ago. It’s nice to be remembered.”